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What is Hypersomnolence Disorder (Hypersomnia)?

Hypersomnolence disorder (hypersomnia) is based on self-reported excessive sleepiness despite the main sleep period lasting at least 7 hours, with at least one of the following symptoms:

  • Recurrent periods of sleep or lapses into sleep within the same day.
  • A prolonged period of sleep of more than 9 hours per day that is nonrestorative.
  • Difficulty being fully awake after abrupt awakening.

The excessive sleepiness occurs at least three times per week, for at least 3 months, causing significant distress or impairment in cognitive, social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. A diagnosis of hypersomnolence disorder requires that the sleepiness is not better explained by another sleep disorder, use of a substance or medication, or a coexisting mental or medical disorder.

What are the different types of Hypersomnia?

  • Primary Hypersomnia is diagnosed when no other cause can be found for excessive sleeping occurring for at least 1 month. Some people are long sleepers who, as with short sleepers, show a normal variation. The pattern is without complaints about the quality of sleep, daytime sleepiness or difficulties with the awake mood, motivation and performance. Long sleep may be a lifetime pattern, and it appears to run in the family.
  • Kleine-Levin Syndrome is a relatively rare condition consisting of recurrent periods of prolonged sleep, from which patients may be aroused, with intervening periods of normal sleep and alert waking. Episodes typically last for a few days up to several weeks and appear one to 10 times per year.
  • Menstrual-Related Hypersomnia is a condition that affects some women during, or shortly before, the onset of their menses. The symptoms typically last for 1 week. Treatment with oral contraceptives is effective; therefore, the disorder is believed to be related to a hormone imbalance.
  • Idiopathic Hypersomnia is a disorder of excessive sleepiness in which patients do not have symptoms associated with narcolepsy. Age onset is usually between 15 and 30 years, and the hypersomnia becomes a lifelong problem.
  • Behaviorally Induced Insufficient Sleep Syndrome is diagnosed when an individual does not schedule an adequate amount of time for sleep and as a result suffers from daytime sleepiness, fatigue, loss of concentration, memory impairment, irritability, and moodiness.
  • Hypersomnia due to a Medical Condition may be caused by head trauma, stroke, encephalitis, Parkinson’s disease, inflammatory conditions, tumors, genetic diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Hypersomnia due to Drug or Substance Use may result from use or abuse of sedative hypnotics, sedating antihistamines, sedating antidepressants, antiepileptics, neuroleptics, and opioid analgesics. Hypersomnia may also be provoked by withdrawal from traditional stimulants (cocaine, amphetamines) caffeine, or nicotine.

What are treatments for Hypersomnolence Disorder (Hypersomnia)?

Hypersomnia caused by insufficient sleep is treated by extending and regularizing the sleep period. If, however, the sleepiness arises from narcolepsy, medical conditions, or idiopathic hypersomnia, it is usually managed with medication.

Mental Health Library Sources:

Information included in all topics of the Mental Health Library comes from the Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria From DSM-5 and Kaplan & Sadock’s Concise Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry. Complete diagnostic and treatment information may be found within these publications.


Information within the Mental Health Library is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis purposes. Rather, it is provided as a public educational service to make people aware of mental health conditions. Please consult a qualified mental health professional for a diagnosis of any suspected mental health illness.

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